I always joked that being a poet was just a step fiscally below being a folk singer, while I aspired secretly to really be a poet, as, although none of us make much money, to me, poets have always been heroines and heroes. Today, Amanda Gorman proved that poets have the power to truly change the world. I’m in awe. I’ve also been ugly crying all day. I admittedly watched Kamala Harris’ swearing in from my cell phone while driving down Demonbreun (carefully, I swear). And when she took the oath and I was turning onto West End, next to a truck lorry, my window partly open in the sun, I cried out “YES YES YES YES AMEN!!!” and then laughed and cried. The driver next to me smiled, nodded his head as if saluting and gave me a thumbs up. Note: I put my phone down and drove safely the rest of the way, but it was important, it was historic, as a feminist it was a culmination of so many years of dreams, and I had to be alone today and celebrate, quietly, which was ok, because I wasn’t alone with myself, there was a hawk at my back with great wings holding my back up and a river below my feet, its current lolling downstream and all the voices of all the women that taught me how to be strong, from my grandmother a longtime widow to my independent fierce teachers to my sponsor to my extraordinary friends who have been my wingwomen. I remember four years ago being at the Baltimore airport, waiting on luggage, as I watched the Inaguration played on the monitors above the belt. I couldn’t stomach it. A man next to me shook his head and said, “This is a nightmare.” He was old. He was African American. I wanted to take his hand. I stood there with tears in my eyes and thought, well, let’s hope it won’t be that bad. It was that bad.It is not now. Today was a blue sky day. It was gorgeous. I have hope for everything today. Because of a woman wearing yellow with sparkling black skin, her hair piled on her head, encircled by a red crown. Her hands ballet-ing the poem like a bird, like braille like sign language. Like a conductor of what is to come. I named my guitar Kamala today. When my son was born Trump was 2 years into his term and it was very hard for me to write in his baby book the president’s name where it asked the question. But I know that my son will grow up in a world where he will never doubt that a woman can hold the highest office in the land. My son will grow up knowing that our country was built on the back of slavery and that we do not turn our back on that history. My son will grow up a southern man, knowing that entwined in the Hackberries and the Magnolias and dripping Moss is great pain, blood-soaked trees and beautiful poetry, people who want to change the south, people who believe in renewal, slow as it may be. My son will grow up and we will tell him stories about today.

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